“B’Haram has seized parts of Kaduna, banned election campaign” – Lawyer

Human rights lawyer and Senior Fellow of the Extremism Policy unit of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Bulama Bukarti, who has researched the Boko Haram insurgency for many years, has warned that in some parts of Kaduna, the insurgents have outlawed any electioneering or campaign activities in those areas. 

According to Bukarti, who made this known in a published interview yesterday, all the three factions of Boko Haram today have cells in the North-West and North-Central regions. 

He said: “Ansaru, the faction of Boko-Haram that is associated with Al-Qaeda, now has a base in the Birnin-Gwari LGA, and they are now in control of some communities, whereby they now give orders on what can be done or not done in these places.  They have become authorities on their own, and have become lawmakers in those communities. For instance, in some parts of Kaduna, they have outlawed any electioneering or campaign activities in those areas, and nobody can dare do what they have outlawed”, he stated. “We also know that some parts of Ansaru are also in Zamfara”, he added.

The human rights lawyer further said: “Insecurity has never been this bad in the country as it has been in the last five years. If we look at the first six months of this year, for example, data released by Beacon Consultant shows that 6,698 Nigerians have been killed and over 3,000 abducted by these terrorists. Looking at these data, you would see that all three crisis zones in the country are getting worse. In the North-East, they are occupying vast Nigerian territory, where they are implementing their own version of Islamic Sharia’h, levying taxes and rendering health care, adjudicating justice and building infrastructure.

“Terrorism and banditry are now being seen as one ‘job’ that pays very well in Nigeria. These terrorists make millions and billions of naira out of ransom payments. Kidnapping for ransom has been decriminalised in Nigeria, essentially. The lack of infrastructure in the forests, like access roads, makes it impossible for security forces to drive into them. They operate on motorcycles, whereas the Nigerian Army has heavy machines”.

Commenting on how Nigerians can detach these security crises from religion, Bukarti said, “We must understand the difference between religion and a warped or twisted religious ideology. Boko Haram is based on a religious ideology, but it is not supported by the mainstream, authentic teachings of Islam. As you know, the vast majority of northerners are Muslims – there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, by estimate. These violent groups are less than 0.003% of the Muslim population. All estimates have shown that they are less than 300, 000. That is because the overwhelming majority of us know that they do not represent the vast majority of us, or the authentic teaching of Islam. Theirs is based on a twisted, perverse version of Islam. 

“What we are saying is that Muslim scholars, like Imams, have a role to play; which is to educate the potential recruits as well as the active fighters. These militias must be told continuously that what they are doing is un-Islamic. It is not a way to paradise; it is a way to hellfire. It is not the way of Allah, or God; it is the way of the devil. What they do to convince young people to fight is to deceive young people that the killings are a way to paradise and some kind of holy war. It is not”, he emphasised.

“Non-Muslims too do have a role to play, which is by supporting the overwhelming majority of Muslims who are peaceful, to help defeat these people that are hijacking Islam and committing violence in the name of Islam. If we profile the whole of Muslims, we are arming these groups to keep on exploiting more young people into their clutches”, he further stated.

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